Coaches Corner: Frank Broyles

Coaches Corner is a regular feature at HawgsIllustrated.com presented by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. This interview with Frank Broyles deals with facilities.

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Coaches Corner:

Question: Arkansas' facilities are among the nation's best in college athletics, yet it seems there are always things that need improvement. What is on the drawing board right now as far as UA facilities?

Frank Broyles: We are working on several projects, including work on our football stadium and with our weight room.

Q: What are the plans for the weight room?

FB: We have a solid facility as far as weight training now as far as being at a competitive situation. Our weight room gives us the ability to get what we need done as far as lifting. We are not at a disadvantage there right now.

But, as far as what we have now is concerned, it does not meet the eye test. It is not competitive. What I mean is when we bring a prospect to campus, what we have is not appealing. So, we have some work to do there.

What we will do will be a three-level facility that is connected to Walker Pavilion, our indoor practice facility. It will be on the south end of the east practice field. One level will be below the practice field, another level even with the field, and the third level above the field. There will be some timing areas that are connected to the indoor practice facility and two levels will be above the indoor workout space.  We have the bids out now. There will be weight training areas as well as agility and conditioning areas, and there will be a locker room with space for every player on our (football) team as well as other sports. This will be a facility that has over 40,000 square feet of area. We'll start out using about half of it, and then expand as we need it. We will have every type of weight training machines and lifting equipment available.

I think when we are done, there won't be a facility like it anywhere in America. It's going to be convenient for our players. It will be a facility that will want to spend a lot of time in and it will be wonderful as far as the space dedicated to athletic conditioning and weight training.

Q: Much work has been done over the last several years to make Baum Stadium the nation's premier baseball stadium. It appears more work is being planned there. What are the specifics?

FB: One of the things that Dave Van Horn, our baseball coach, really wanted were new offices. So, we've put together plans to expand our top level around the press box to add coaches offices and a few more sky boxes. The coaches offices will be unique because they overlook the field, and that will make it a real asset when prospects are on campus. It will be unique in the way the offices are built, but it's being done partly because it was the easiest place to add them.

Q: Bud Walton Arena is now 10 years old. Are their plans to improve the basketball afacility?

FB: You are correct. It's still a wonderful basketball arena, but there are some things that need to be done to keep it the best in America. Part of it would be just a thorough job of painting the areas that are in need of a new look. But, we are also in the process of improving the scoreboard and adding a replay screen. That's something that is in great need, a replay board and we will work hard to get that done.

We are constantly in a refurbishment mode. Last summer, we redid our athletic dormitory from one end to the other. It's a fine dorm, but nothing had been done for quite some time. So we upgraded it with pictures, carpet and reworked the dorm rooms. It is in fine shape now. It has had a complete overhaul.

Q: Work has begun on the final part of the refurbishment of Reynolds Razorback Stadium, the outside of the West stands. What are the plans there?

A: The present facility on the West side does not have the proper foundation or room to support a duplcation of the East stands. We will improve the patio space and walking areas and we will add some elevators. But, we won't be able to improve the facade to match the East.

We will be able to add a lot of brick work and duplicate the north side of the West stands to match the north entrance to the East stands. We will also add some two-story columns at several points to make it look a lot like the East as far as the brick. We will try to match the stadium architecture and the architecture elsewhere on the campus.

We wanted to do the work on the West that would make it pleasing to the eye, and to match what has been done elsewhere on campus. I think everyone will be pleased with the finished product. The West side of the stadium will match the rest of the campus. It will be special in appearance.

When you look at what we've been able to do with Reynolds Razorback Stadium, it is a miracle. That's the only way I know to describe it.

I think what you have to say first is that Razorback fans believe in our program. They are the reason it is possible. We were able to build it through contributions from our fans and through gate receipts. We used no tax money.

I think what we have is the most functional stadium in America. That's a tribute to our fans, and also the architects. We have visitors from other colleges throughout the spring and the summer and they are always amazed at what we've done with this stadium.

Q: The Razorback golf team has struggled to find a proper practice facility near campus through the years. That appears to be something that is going to change in the near future. Tell us about those plans at the new Clear Creek Golf Club in Johnson.

FB: The bids have just gone out to build an indoor golf facility with locker rooms for both our men's and women's teams. That facility is a personal gift from Fred and Mary Smith and their family. Fred is chairman of the Don Reynolds Foundation, but this is a personal gift from his family. It is going to be a beautiful design with the practice facility, adjacent to their new club house at Clear Creek. It will be a strong training facility as well as a remarkable recruiting tool.

 

 

This is a look at the West side of Reynolds Razorback Stadium from the north.

 

Reynolds Razorback Stadium is getting a face lift on the west side.

 

Reynolds Razorback Stadium will have a look on the north side of the west side to match the north side of the east stands.

 

Photos by Clay Henry

 

 

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